Windows 8 Live Tiles are a great way of showing constantly updated information regarding stock prices, weather bulletins etc on the Windows 8 Start Screen.

Is it plausible to suggest that they can actually (maybe "sneakily") use vast amounts of data in a short period of time & one could easily exceed their monthly data cap (very early on in a month) if they are not careful ?

(As might be seen from the TCPView software in Windows 8 showing that BITS was downloading masses of data - for no apparent reason).

If this is the case, is their a way to prevent or at least limit the amount of data each tile downloads (without actually turning the live tile "off") ?


Additionally from a logical perspective are certain Live Tiles more prone to using up more bandwidth quickly, because they download more data than other Live Tiles, therefore perhaps they should be avoided or kept to a minimum on the Windows 8 Start Screen ?

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    there has to be a registry key somewhere that allows you to change the time between syncs, therefore reducing the traffic. – Lorenzo Von Matterhorn Sep 22 '13 at 11:02
  • How much monthly bandwidth do you have? Assume it equals x. Then divide by 30. If you have 300MB in a month that will equal about an average of 10 MB per day, that is remarkably little. If a service query is about 500KB then you will waste 12 MB if the service polls the server every half hour. From personal experience I wasted about 50 to 150MB of information in a day, connected to an MMO and other services. – Doktoro Reichard Sep 22 '13 at 11:25
  • @LorenzoVonMatterhorn I thinks thats a very logical suggestion, especially if you have many live tiles on the start screen. Obviously the less number of Live Tiles the better, if it is indeed true that they "burn" data allowance. – Simon Sep 22 '13 at 12:14
  • @DoktoroReichard I'm asking from a thoretical view point, but something I believe 1. Is of interest 2. Could have real life implications (and I would like to guard against happening) in the near future & maybe also IT IS affecting many people using Windows 8 at this current time (who may well like Live Tiles, but may be unaware of such a problem - if it exists). Which I think it does ! – Simon Sep 22 '13 at 12:37
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    @DoktoroReichard in a single day i can make over 500MB traffic, with no torrents and such.. luckily i have a fonera account i can use for free hotspots when my internet dongle is near the limit – Lorenzo Von Matterhorn Sep 22 '13 at 17:41

Because the amount of traffic caused by live tile updates differs from app to app, just check the numbers in the task manager:

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In my personal experience, the traffic caused by live tiles is negligible. If you're using apps that show images in their live tiles and those images change frequently, those tiles might cause a significant amount of traffic. You can keep an eye on the traffic caused by live tile updates in the task manager and disable apps that download too much content. Just right click on the app and select Turn live tile off:

enter image description here

Whether you need to disable the live tiles for an app totally depends on your traffic plan and the advantage you gain from the tiles. For example, you certainly want to disable an app that wastes 100 MB of your traffic budget per month just for live tiles.

  • In your personal experience is there an optimum number of Live Tiles that should be placed on the Windows 8 Start Screen ? – Simon Sep 23 '13 at 9:22
  • It totally depends on your usage of Windows and the apps you've pinned to the start screen. I'd suggest you just keep an eye on the usage with the task manager and disable updates on tiles that cause high traffic. – Gene Sep 23 '13 at 9:36
  • Excellent. Just to clarify, high traffic is denoted by..? – Simon Sep 23 '13 at 9:58
  • Tried to clarify. – Gene Sep 23 '13 at 14:09
  • Appreciated.... – Simon Sep 23 '13 at 17:22

Is it plausible to suggest that they can actually (maybe "sneakily") use vast amounts of data in a short period of time & one could easily exceed their monthly data cap (very early on in a month) if they are not careful ?

Of course this depends on the data cap and the live tiles used, but yes, in principle it is possible.

There is no fundamental reason why the live tiles would need huge amounts of data, as most display fairly little information (one weather report, a few stock quotes), so they could be programmed to be economical with downloaded data. However, there's no way to tell if they actually are, short of measuring bandwitdh usage.

That said, there are some settings in Windows 8 that let you limit the data usage of live tiles:

Open the Charms menu either with the shortcut Windows key+C, or by moving your mouse cursor to the upper or lower corner of the right screen. Select Settings from the list of options and select the tiles link at the top on the next screen.

There you can set options to limit data usage. Note: You need to set your network connection as "metered" for these options to be shown.

Source: http://klint.co/greedy-windows-8-limit-live-tiles-data-usage/

  • Thankyou for your interpretation. I am assuming therefore that the more live tiles you have on the start-screen, the more data they could be downloading and hence using up bandwidth (if limitations are not imposed or set by default within Windows 8) ? – Simon Sep 22 '13 at 13:53
  • @Simon: Yes, exactly. – sleske Sep 22 '13 at 14:10

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